Empaths & Hoarders - is there a connection?

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Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

I'm a recovering semi-hoarder. My house doesn't look nearly as bad as those in the TV shows, but I've got all the symptoms.

I've been cleaning out, one drawer or box at a time, and I've noticed that it's horrendously emotional, especially the drawer I'm cleaning out now, which is full of old letters, cards, and other correspondence. I've been deeply depressed, not like cleaning out a sock drawer and throwing away the singles.

Then I started to wonder if there's a connection between empathy and hoarding. Hoarders attach emotions to objects, anthropomorphize them, can't let them go. That's how it's described. But we know that objects do carry emotion - other people's emotion.

Is anybody here a hoarder, recovering hoarder, semi-hoarder? I'd like to talk to you.


updated by @visitor: 05/09/17 01:50:51AM
Ecila
@ecila
last year
898 posts

Haha...I had a four story house packed with stuff. The basement was all good stuff, imo, like building supplies, albums I've had since I was 15, CDs, VCR tapes and cassettes, children's games and a killer stereo with all the components including an equilizer and turntable. The first floor was loaded with books, memorabilia and kitchen stuff including a ton of cook books and herbs and vitamins. Second floor was cosmetics type stuff and clothes...OMG the clothes from thrift stores...I lost weight...gained weight...lost weight...so I had clothes form size 2 - 12 and didn't want to throw them away...halloween costumes from years back and my son's uniforms from every activity he was ever in. Fourth floor was a giant telescope all sorts of miscellaneous goodies. Then there was the stuff outside like the garden bridge, swing, contrect zen pagoda, water fountain, trellises, various garden stones and nicnacks and windchimes........I couldn't part with any of it, although it wasn't really hoarding like on tv, there was a lot of stuff.

I had to move to stay with my dad and just left the place. My OCD/histronic mom took it over and threw away a lot of it and packed the rest up. I had told her not to but she did it anyways. It was traumatic for me to go back and all my stuff be gone...of course it didn't happen quickly, although she did do a lot more quickly than you'd think. It felt like she was doing away with my very self...and I think in a way she was. But, now that it's gone, I do feel lighter in a way. Some of it is still in storage and I'll have to go through it soon. I don't know that I could have ever done it like my mother did. There was also a water leak that destroyed my albums or I never would have parted with them...and I had a lot!

I'm trying to use the Buddhist monk model...lol...I really don't need all that stuff to be me. We can't keep anything, really,nothing belongs to us forever. We/I have to let go. It is hard and I think I'm still suffering a little from a loss of identity from the separation of me and my junk/house/then my dog and cat died and my son got a girlfriend.......What is it that makes us who we are? It isn't the stuff....Sorry I'm rambling...but yes, I think I suffer similarly. And I miss my stuff.

The house finally has a contract on it and will be sold in a few weeks. I regret it in a way but in another way, I know it was too much for me to keep, and the memories were to much as well. Still, I feel a pain with the fear of loosing those memories.

Edit::: When I cleaned out the letter boxes, it was terribly emotional. I moved some of them here with me into this house. Then I put them in the trunk of my car and carried them around a long time, not being able to actually put them into the dump. I finally did after many months of shuffling them around in my car.

Karen2
@womanwhowalks
last year
783 posts
Hi..i'm not a hoarder..i've been in a hoarder's house...at that time I really wasn't understanding the reasons or the mentality around that issue...and the need to collect things in access..but I do know what you mean about having difficulty throwing stuff out...birthday cards as an example...and gifts that people give...the guilt over throwing out those things is obvious to me...i've kept cards for years out of guilt...and obligation I thought... I have a beautiful collection of garden magazines that I can't seem to throw out...the photos are art..and beautiful...and cost a bit of money...lol...so...I don't buy anymore...but I keep the ones I have...just in case...lol..and you are definitely right...objects do carry energy...have you ever thought of smudging your home while cleaning and sorting to rid the house of negative energy?...that might make it less difficult and clear the room as you go...
Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

Ecila - My parents are hoarders too. My father is a clean and neat hoarder - everything is labeled. My mother is dirty and messy. She hates to throw anything away, even garbage. They're getting old and I tried to live with them and help out, but it didn't work. I helped her clear out one corner of the kitchen. It took a few hours, was very exhausting, but I felt like we'd gotten somewhere. Then the next day it was all cluttered again with different stuff. I gave up!

People have to get rid of their own clutter; it's a personal process. Your mother meant well but she shouldn't have done that. The only time to intervene is when it poses a fire hazard. And I knew a woman who died because the paramedics couldn't reach her.

Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

I have used smudges and incense, bells, etc. It helps a little. I think once I get all these letters cleaned out I will feel much better. It's good to clean the area out after you've de-cluttered it too - dust it or scrub it or whatever it needs.

Karen2
@womanwhowalks
last year
783 posts
When I was moving...I found I had too many papers...I didn't even bother to go through it all...I got a plastic bag and dumped it all in...out the door to the garbage. ...that way I overrode any mind chatter about keeping it...lol...I dumped a lot of stuff that way....I just don't think about it...grab a bag and dump...the only thing I kept was my divorce papers...and I REALLY had to talk myself into keeping those. Lol
Ecila
@ecila
last year
898 posts

My mom is the clean and neat hoarder and dad the sloppy one. I guess I'm somewhere in between, but I put my clutter out of sight like in a spare room or closet. I can't stand to look at it. Dad's been cutting off plastic jugs and bottles and saving them to use as flower pots for spring gardening and it drives me mad.

Reading up on Feng Shui and the thought of stagnant energy helped me get the motivation to let things go.

Cat Whisperer
@cat-whisperer
last year
726 posts
Just the opposite. Clutter causes me major distress. It's kinda like too many people talking to you at once....or too many emotions coming in at once. It may just be my perfectionist nature to just have everything in order. Not saying if you like clutter that there is anything wrong with that though.
Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

I actually hate clutter. I just find it hard to get rid of.

Cat Whisperer
@cat-whisperer
last year
726 posts
Yeh, as soon as I get rid of something, that's when I need it :) lol
Ecila
@ecila
last year
898 posts

Me too. That's part of the problem. All the stuff could come in handy someday. It really isn't worth the annoyance, tho.

Ecila
@ecila
last year
898 posts

Something I ran across today. There's a mood monitor at this place....

Tidying Up.

Oh, I have the soul of a minimalist, but the habits and outlook of a hoarder.
My house is cluttered; strewn and littered with papers, miscellanea, objects trouv; I like to think it's the sign of a creative mind with many interests...
When I am well, this clutter amuses me, or at least does not bother me enough to do more than occasionally tidy up. Just sometimes I will decide that enough is enough and declutter using Marie Kondo's excellent methodology from her bookThe Life Changing Magic of Tidying(I'll come back to that later).
When I'm ill however, then all this clutter is just one more reminder, or rather ten thousand individual reminders, of what a useless person I am. I am messy, untidy, cluttered and unclean. It's as if the disordered state of my home reflects the disorder and dysfunctionality of my mind and I desire nothing more than to make a clean sweep.
And this is where I have some hard won advice for you all.
Never, but never, declutter when you're depressed!
The reason for this is very simple and where I come back to Marie Kondo.
The basis of her philosophy is simple in the extreme. Only keep those items which bring you joy, or which you may not dispose of for legal or practical reasons. You may be sure that my tax records for the past seven years do not bring me joy, but I am required to keep them for that long.
It's easy to know if an item brings you joy: you look at it or touch it, and listen to your feelings.
When you're keeping things "just in case" then the emotion attached to those items is a sort of low grade anxiety. When you're keeping something because "It was a gift and I feel I can't get rid of it," then the feeling is one of nebulous guilt. Books you "ought" to have on your bookshelves ooze tension and that dress you bought in the sale because "it was a bargain," but which you've never worn, emits shame.
None of these items actually have a place in our lives or our homes and yes, they should go, so that we are left only with those possessions that bring us joy.
So why not do this when depressed? Surely it would make us feel better.
Because when we are depressed, even if we have the energy to declutter, we cannot feel our emotions accurately. We are often unable to distinguish the joy.
I have decluttered when well, and decluttered (twice) when ill. I have never missed one item I discarded when well. But I have made emotional (and financial) costly mistakes when decluttering while ill.
So live with the mess if you're ill at present. Wait until you're really well and you can feel properly again. And then look up Marie Kondo. You'll be glad you did.
Mary
A Moodscope member.

Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

If I waited until I wasn't depressed, it would be YEARS before I could clean. I'm constantly depressed - unemployed, dog just died too young, untrained empath, whatever. I find it's helpful to turn on some music or the oven timer and spend 20 minutes cleaning. It's amazing how much you can get done if you just stay in motion for 20 minutes.

Karen2
@womanwhowalks
last year
783 posts
Actually the timer thing sounds fun...beat the clock cleaning...lol...what a great idea!
Visitor
@visitor
last year
303 posts

...and it works!!

Ecila
@ecila
last year
898 posts

You have a point there. Thinking about cleaning is depressing!

heartbroken
@heartbroken
last year
10 posts

I have a hard time letting go of "stuff" that reminds me of another time and place. I feel as though I've lived a couple of lives already. Childhood, young mother, empty nester at age 44. To me, the memories get me. I always bawl when I go through my "stuff". I think of what could have been or what should have been. Not that I've made bad choices, but I've never had time to be with loved ones. I'm always working. I think that this is why I can't get rid of anything.

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